Testing students for bloodborne viruses: passports and confidentiality
Recent reports have told of medical schools issuing students with “health passports” or “health certificates.” These are pieces of paper, sometimes laminated, sometimes with a photo of the student, that detail the student’s name, date of birth, course, university, and HIV and hepatitis viruses B and C status. The passports must be presented at every occupational health department where the student is on placement. Between presentations at occupational health we have to keep them in a safe place—mine is pinned to my notice board.
Guidance released at around the same time reacts to recent worries about the control of sensitive data. Some hospital trusts that look after teaching hospitals have recently stipulated that all patient identifiable data should be stored only on pre-encrypted memory sticks approved by NHS Connecting for Health. Non-encrypted devices may only be used for non-sensitive data and not under any circumstance for patient identifiable data. This